A Park and Walk program encourages families to park several blocks from school and walk the rest of the way to school. Children arriving on school buses can also be part of this program.
Parking lots that are typically vacant or unused during school drop-off and pick-up times, such as parks, places of worship, or malls with large parking lots, may be willing to share their space and can serve as a meeting place for families for the walk to school. Walking School Bus or Bike Train programs in which a parent, teacher, or community member volunteer provides supervision for a group of students from the parking location, can be fun, safe, and practical additions to a Park and Walk Program. This program reduces traffic congestion around the school’s pick-up and drop-off areas while still accommodating parents who drop their children off at school on their way to work.
The National Center for Safe Routes to School has information on how to start a Park & Walk program.
Park & Walk programs can also address equity and inclusion concerns for students who may not be able to walk or bike all the way from home to school. Families in low-income areas tend to be in neighborhoods with less infrastructure for safe walking and biking. Students with disabilities may also experience barriers to participating in Safe Routes to School programs. Park & Walks allow for a shorter distance to travel and supervision from parents or school staff.
Check out the Inclusion & Equity in School Commute Programs Guidebook for more information on overcoming language, cultural, and physical barriers to participation in Safe Routes to School programs.